What if I told you it’s possible to find real gold and diamonds without ever leaving your city?
Yesterday I would’ve thought that was impossible.
But after watching Shane Klesh’s viral Youtube video, which has received over 3.6 million views since he posted it in March 2022, my mind has been opened to the possibilities of urban prospecting.
“This has got to be one of the most fun ways to go prospecting,” Klesh says in the video.
The NYC Diamond District is where streets are paved with gold
The immigrants coming to Ellis Island once thought the streets of America were paved with gold.
That’s true of one street: New York City’s Diamond District at the corner of 5th Ave and 47th St in Manhattan.
Crafstmen create, polish and modify so much jewelry there that the sidewalks sparkle in the light due to the volume of metal dust shed from the 2,600 businesses in the district.
As the cherry on top, over 90% of the diamonds in the ENTIRE USA come through New York. Apparently a few gemstones swapped at the 25 jewelry exchanges in the Diamond District escape from pockets, bags, and jewelry out on the sidewalks and streets.
Youtuber Shane Klesh, a prolific prospector of gold and precious gemstones, thought it had potential to be a rich prospecting spot one night when he was sitting in front of the tv.
“I got the idea from a news segment about 20 years ago,” he told Bering Sea Paydirt in an email. “It showed a guy finding diamonds stuck in gum on the sidewalks in NYC’s diamond district. I had to try it myself.”
Urban prospecting has some unexpected dangers
Instead of the usual mountain lions and bears he faces in his favorite prospecting spots in the mountains of Colorado, Klesh says in the city he’s risking unwanted attention from cops, possessive store owners, and folks passing by on the street.
“It’s always best to do this before the sun comes up and before everyone starts walking around,” he says, “that way not so many people are looking at me.”
Klesh scrapes the “skudge” out of the thick sidewalk cracks in the dark of pre-dawn and then sucks it up with a Milwaukee cordless handheld shop vac that he calls “amazing.”
He fills a bucket up and ships it back to Colorado for panning.
Panning city skudge is for the patient, but it inspired Klesh to look for treasure everywhere
Klesh said in an email, “It took all afternoon to pan that stuff out. One spoonful at a time, very tedious and time consuming. Take Alaska black sand difficulty and multiply it by three, I’d say.”
While the panning is slow, the treasure hunt is exciting. You never truly know what you’ll get in the pan.
Each pan gets more exciting as he uncovers more gold and silver dust. Klesh also discovers gemstones of all different colors and sizes and bits and pieces of fine jewelry.
In the end, after testing each stone, Klesh ends up with 23 real diamonds, dozens of unknown precious gemstones, and a heap of precious metal dust and jewelry scraps.
Did it open his eyes to the possibilities of finding treasure in common places?
“It’s got me keeping my eyes to the ground all the time, after a concert. Stick around after the mosh pit and find all kinds of stuff. Melting snow banks in grocery store parking lots. Lots of trash, but sometimes find some awesome stuff with minimal effort.”
Check out Klesh’s video here, and search for some of his other urban prospecting videos. He’s done three in Denver, two in New York City, and one in Las Vegas.
Prospect for gold at home!
Buy real gold paydirt and gold-by-the-gram straight from the Bering Sea.
We know where it’s from, because we sucked it up the nozzle ourselves.